Toner (skin care)
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In cosmetics, skin toner or simply toner refers to a lotion or wash designed to cleanse the skin and shrink the appearance of pores, usually used on the face. Toners can be applied to the skin in different ways:
- On damp cotton wool. (This is the most frequently used method.)
- Spraying onto the face.
- By applying a tonic gauze facial mask—a piece of gauze is covered with toner and left on the face for a few minutes.
Some toners may cause some irritation to the skin if never used before. Users often apply moisturiser after toner has dried.
Types of toners
Skin bracers or fresheners
These are the mildest form of toners; they contain water and a humectant such as glycerine, and little if any alcohol (0–10%). Humectants help to keep the moisture in the upper layers of the epidermis by preventing it from evaporating. A popular example of this is rosewater.
These toners are the gentlest to the skin, and are most suitable for use on dry, dehydrated, sensitive and normal skins. It may give a burning sensation to sensitive skin.
These are slightly stronger and contain a small quantity of alcohol (up to 20%), water and a humectant ingredient. Orange flower water is an example of a skin tonic. Skin tonics are suitable for use on normal, combination, and oily skin.
These are the strongest form of toner and contain a high proportion of alcohol (20–60%), antiseptic ingredients, water, and a humectant ingredient. These can be irritating and damaging to the skin as they can remove excess protective lipids as well as denature proteins in the skin when a high percentage of alcohol is used.